September 18, 2020

Kanji Spotlight: 掛 hang

扌 hand

土 soil

卜 divination stick

Main Meaning: hang

kun: か・ける;か・かる
on: カイ;ケイ

Use your hand 扌 with two gobs of sticky soil 土 to hang a stick 卜 on the wall

ABOUT かける・かかる

掛 is usually the kanji behind the power word: かける (transitive) or かかる (intransitive). This word can have many, many meanings depending on the context. It can mean to hang, to put on, to spend, to pour, to turn on, and more. Some of the usages are idiomatic ((こし)()ける koshi o kakeru - to take a seat) and may need to be memorized, but you can usually get a sense of "hanging" or "securing" something to something.

That being said, while this kanji is important, it actually isn't used very often. Most of the time かける is written in kana alone. It is important to learn as it does pop up here and there.

A note on "transitive" (他動詞(たどうし)) and "intransitive" (自動詞じどうし) verbs. 



  • 他 means "other." 
  • Therefore, the action is done by someone else.
  • Expresses an action that changes a state or condition caused by something else.
  • Moved by something



  • 自 means "self."
  • Therefore, the action is done by itself.
  • Expresses an ongoing state or condition (existing) or an act caused by itself.
  • Moves on its own


(someone) hangs (something)


(the state of) hanging


kabe ni e o kakemasu.

(I) will put a picture on the wall.


kabe ni e ga kakatte imasu.

A picture is hanging on the wall.

Let's look at a few examples illustrating different meanings of 掛ける or 掛かる (again, usually written in kana only). 

To hang (a coat; a picture to the wall)


kono shashin o kabe ni kakete kudasai.
Please hang this photo on the wall.

To wear (glasses; necklaces; etc)


fudan wa, megane o kakete imasu.
Usually, I wear glasses.

To make a call


aoki san ni denwa o kakemasu.
I will call Mr (or Ms.) Aoki.

To spend (money or time)


kono shigoto wa kanari jikan ga kakarimashita.
This work took quite a bit of time.

To pour (liquid); to sprinkle (powder or spices)


sukoshi shio o kaketara, oishii desu yo.
If you add a touch of salt, it is delicious.

To start (an engine); to set (a dial)


kuruma no enjin o kaketa totan, bakuhatsu shita!
The moment I started the engine, it blew up!

To cause trouble for someone (idiomatic)


go meiwaku o okakeshite moushi wake arimasen.
I'm terribly sorry for causing such trouble.

To multiply (math)


ichi kakeru ichi wa ichi da.
One times one is one

To lock


kagi o kakeru no o wasurete shimatta.
I totally forgot to lock the door.

To take a seat


douzo, koshi o kakete kudasai.
Please have a seat.

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